By Tunç Kip
In many business environments, the practice of accurately defining problems falls short. We often have a hurried approach to identifying problems and presume solutions. Six Sigma, as a problem-solving methodology, seeks to increase productivity in the problem-solving arena. The system offers tools for a business to properly describe what they are going after, why they are going after it and what they expect to achieve at the end.
A properly stated problem is an observation of the present state. By doing so, we can define the defect or process culminating in a defective outcome. In developing the problem statement, we provide a precise and, most importantly, measurable description of the current state based on factual evidence that is free of opinion. This combined with an accurate description of the defect serve as south marker of our compass.
In Six Sigma, we accept that all information required for a concise conclusion may not be immediately available. By thinking this way, we eliminate the error of assumptions. While acknowledging additional information may be required to resolve the problem, a clearly defined goal has been set through partnership with our customer. Our stated goal is nothing more than an observation of the desired state at a point in the future. This is the north marker on our compass and points us in the direction our business needs to gravitate.
It’s a relief to isolate your problem. In addition to providing the tools to accurately define the project, Six Sigma also offers all the tools needed to dive deeper into the subject, create a higher-resolution picture of the current state, scientifically derive a proposed solution and even verify that solution prior to execution.
The true impact of Six Sigma within an organization is only achieved when the findings from a single project turn into best practices and become a part of how the organization continuously and permanently functions.
Tunç Kip is a Six Sigma Master Black Belt and business development manager for Temel Gaskets.